Nordpol in Gefahr

PARIS – Seitdem die Menschheit angefangen hat, die Welt zu kartieren, haben uns der Nord- und Südpol sowohl poetisch als auch wissenschaftlich fasziniert. Doch außer einiger Walfänger und Forscher sind nicht viele Menschen je hingereist, um sie sich näher anzusehen. Die friedliche Stille der Arktis und Antarktis entsprach perfekt geeignet der menschlichen Gleichgültigkeit. Das Einsetzen der Erderwärmung hat jedoch alles verändert.

Selbstverständlich galt diese alte Gleichgültigkeit nicht für alle. In einem seltenen Schub kollektiver politischer Intelligenz, und um jedes Risiko eines internationalen Konflikts zu vermeiden, wurde 1959 ein internationaler Vertrag über die Antarktis unterzeichnet. Laut diesem Vertrag darf die Antarktis ausschließlich zu friedlichen Zwecken genutzt werden. Er erkannte die bestehenden Gebietsansprüche an, erklärte sie für „eingefroren“ und untersagte jegliche physische Behauptung der Souveränität auf dem Boden der Antarktis.

Natur und Inhalt dieses Vertrags waren rein diplomatisch. Erst nach der Ratifizierung kamen die ersten Umweltfragen auf. Diese wurden dem überarbeiteten Vertrag 1972 in einem Übereinkommen zur Erhaltung der Robben hinzugefügt, dem 1980 ein Übereinkommen zum Tierschutz folgte. Am wichtigsten war ein Protokoll, das 1991 in Madrid unterzeichnet wurde und sich auf den Umweltschutz bezog.

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